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Inheriting Abraham by
Publication Date: 2014-10-26
Jews, Christians, and Muslims supposedly share a common religious heritage in the patriarch Abraham, and the idea that he should serve only as a source of unity among the three traditions has become widespread in both scholarly and popular circles. But in Inheriting Abraham, Jon Levenson reveals how the increasingly conventional notion of the three equally "Abrahamic" religions derives from a dangerous misunderstanding of key biblical and Qur'anic texts, fails to do full justice to any of the traditions, and is often biased against Judaism in subtle and pernicious ways.
Islam - A Guide for Jews and Christians by
Publication Date: 2003-04-13
The Quran is a sacred book with profound, and familiar, Old and New Testament resonances. And the message it promulgated, Islam, came of age during an extraordinarily rich era of interaction among monotheists. Jews, Christians, and Muslims not only worshipped the same God, but shared aspirations, operated in the same social and economic environment, and sometimes lived side by side, indistinguishable by language, costume, or manners. Today, of course, little of this commonality is apparent, and Islam is poorly understood by most non-Muslims. Entering Islam through the same biblical door Muhammad did, this book introduces readers with Christian or Jewish backgrounds to one of the world's largest, most active, and--in the West--least understood religions. Frank Peters, one of the world's leading authorities on the monotheistic religions, starts with the central feature of Muslim faith and life: the Quran. Across its pages move Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. The Quran contains remarkably familiar accounts of Genesis, the Flood, Exodus, the Virgin Birth, and other biblical events. But Peters also highlights Muhammad's very different use of Scripture and explains those elements of the Quran most alien to Western readers, from its didactic passages to its remarkable poetry. Peters goes on to cogently explain Islam's defining features--including the significance of Mecca, the manner of Muhammad's revelations, and the creation of the unique community of Muslims, all in relation to the Judeo-Christian tradition. He compares Jesus and Muhammad, describes Islamic commandments and rituals, details the structures of Sunni and Shi'ite communities, and lays out central Islamic beliefs on war, women, mysticism, and martyrdom. The result is a crucial and extremely accomplished book that offers Western readers a professional yet highly accessible understanding of Islam, and at a time when we need it most.
The Names of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by
Publication Date: 2011-09-08
This book offers a welcome solution to the growing need for a common language in interfaith dialogue; particularly between the three Abrahamic faiths in our modern pluralistic society. The book suggests that the names given to God in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur'an, could be the very foundations and building blocks for a common language between the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths. On both a formal interfaith level, as well as between everyday followers of each doctrine, this book facilitates a more fruitful and universal understanding and respect of each sacred text; exploring both the commonalities and differences between each theology and their individual receptions. In a practical application of the methodologies of comparative theology, Maire Byrne shows that the titles, names and epithets given to God in the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam contribute towards similar images of God in each case, and elucidates the importance of this for providing a viable starting point for interfaith dialogue.
A Stranger Is Calling by
Publication Date: 2017-02-09
Abraham, the father of all believers, plays host to three strangers, one of whom is God, and thus sets an example for others to follow. Jews, Christians, and Muslims often treat each other as strangers. Their Holy Books are not the cause of their conflicts and enmity but rather show the way to solve them. They tell a common story of the lifelong journey of the human being to the promised city, the promised land, and the promised world where justice and righteousness reign. ""Relying on rich references to poetry, prose, and art, Wessels probes the age-old and sacred practice of hospitality to strangers. Centering his analysis on the famous Genesis story of Abraham who entertained three strangers, Wessels' indirect message is that we are at risk of incurring great losses when ignoring the stranger. Students of inter-religious encounters, from college courses to meetings in churches, synagogues, and mosques, will greatly benefit from the erudite and in-depth information this book provides."" --Nelly van Doorn-Harder, Wake Forest University ""A Stranger is Calling . . . is by far Anton's] richest and most ambitious text yet. It weaves a very colorful and rich tapestry of multivalent and diverse traditions. Only an erudite and critical scholar like Anton could have brought such seemingly disparate elements together in such a brilliant and enlightening way. This coherent tour de force invites us to reevaluate our perspectives on truth, history, revelation, and even the divine."" -- Charles Amjad-Ali, from the foreword Anton Wessels is Professor Emeritus of the History of Religion, Islam in particular, at VU University Amsterdam. He is the author of The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: Three Books, Two Cities, One Tale (2013), Europe, Was it Ever Really Christian? (1994), and Muslims and the West: Can They Be Integrated? (2006).
The Three Sons of Abraham by
Publication Date: 2014-01-24
Jews, Christians and Muslims all trace their history and spiritual raison d'etre to their common tribal ancestor, Abraham. Their religious identities are interrelated and even dependent on each other. Jesus lived as a Jew and Christianity was born in the heart of Judaism. Early Christianity was inherently Jewish, referring to the same scriptures-the Tanach, later called the "Old Testament"-and holding to the same messianic promises. Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, knew both Christianity and Judaism. The Qur'an contains material indebted to the Old Testament and Jewish tradition, as well as stories and teachings from the New Testament; and Mohammed himself met Jews and Christians alike during his lifetime. Furthermore, the three religions share many fundamental ideas and beliefs. They testify to the same memory of Abraham; value the same divine law; urge the same ideal of righteousness; and proclaim the same hope of peace for the earth and salvation for humankind. Despite this shared heritage, the three Abrahamic faiths have sometimes been more closely identified not for what they offer to save the world but for what they bring to destabilise it. It is one of the depressing paradoxes of religion- supposedly a force for good-that it is all too frequently the occasion for conflict instead of peace, generosity and better treatment of one's neighbor. The contributors to this volume start from the premise that there is a price to be paid by the "sons of Abraham": whether Jews, Muslims or Christians. And that is the cost of learning how to be brothers through mutual and attentive engagement. Mature interfaith discussion offers respect for a shared heritage while also recognising points of distinctiveness. This book explores what articulating such regardful difference, as well as commonality, might mean for the future of faith relations. Including provocative reflections by Elie Wiesel, Irving Greenberg, Hans Kung and others, the book makes a vital contribution to dialogue. In its searching analysis of issues of peace, justice, hope and forgiveness, it will engage all students and scholars of interfaith studies.